Page last updated at 15:21 GMT, Thursday, 19 June 2008 16:21 UK

Quarry dust concerns in village

Batts Coombe Quarry in Cheddar, Somerset
The quarry produces 200,000 tons of quicklime a year

Residents of a Somerset village have spoken of their concerns after cars and garden furniture were covered in "gritty white dust flakes".

A fault at the nearby Batts Combe quarry, on 3 June, caused a dust plume to rise from the site

Cheddar resident Jo Hill, 44, said people accepted the need for the quarry but said dust levels should be closely monitored and regulated.

A quarry spokesman confirmed the plant was shut while the fault was fixed.

Mrs Hill said she was leaving for work on 10 June and noticed her car was covered in the dust.

"It's best described as sticky, gritty white dust flakes," the mother-of-three said.

'Health effects'

"As I travelled to work I could see other people in the village using their wipers to try to clean their windscreens.

"But I am most concerned about the possible health effects on my young children."

David Weeks, spokesman for quarry owners Hanson UK, apologised for the nuisance at the Batts Combe quarry but insisted there was no threat to health.

"The lime kiln normally runs 24/7 but an emergency shutdown was instigated after a blockage in the system.

"This sent a visible plume and [emission] readings on site went higher than our licence allows.

"The plant was shutdown for some 12 to 14 hours and the Environment Agency informed. After 20 minutes, on-site readings were back to normal and regular tests were made."

A spokesman for the Environment Agency confirmed it was made aware of the fault and would be carrying out further investigations.

Dangerous dust closes quarry kiln
12 May 06 |  Somerset

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